Hawksbee and Teat suit up with NLL's best

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:15 PM ET

Offensively his numbers aren't of all-star calibre, but Ian Hawksbee is with the National Lacrosse League's best in Denver because of what he does at the other end of the floor.

The hard-nosed defenceman is a valuable member of the Edmonton Rush and will be relied on heavily in the quest for a playoff spot.

Tonight, Hawksbee and forward Dan Teat are representing the team at the NLL showcase hosted by the Colorado Mammoth.

"We talked to Ian at the beginning of the season and asked him to take on a little more responsibility and be the guy the Rush wanted to be when he was brought here," said Edmonton head coach and general manager Bob Hamley.

"He's fulfilled that and more. He's physical guy that doesn't mind when it gets a little heavy and he's one of the top loose-ball guys in the league. He carries a lot of responsibility with us and he's accepted it all, played very well this year, and I think he's very deserving of being at the all-star game."

Hawksbee, 25, a native of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., was acquired by Edmonton from the San Jose Stealth prior to last season. The four-year NLL veteran has a goal and five assists and has recovered 81 loose balls in nine games for the Rush this year.

This is his first all-star appearance.

"He's a very valuable guy," Hamley said. "We rely on him pretty heavily and he doesn't mind the physical game. He's really stepped it up this year. We're excited about his future with us."

While Hawksbee was named a reserve for the West Division side, Teat was voted in as a starter.

The veteran forward got off to an impressive start offensively and although he's cooled off in the past few weeks, he still leads the team in scoring with 17 goals and 35 points.

"Dan has quietly had a great career," Hamley said. "Coaches and general managers know what Dan's done throughout his career. By putting a letter on his jersey we've asked him to take on more responsibility offensively, push the young guys and help them along.

"Even in the last two games, when he wasn't great statistically, he did a lot of great things for (Callum) Crawford allowing him to get open and score his four goals in the win against Colorado."

Teat, 37, was one of the first major acquisitions made by Hamley when he took over the club midway through last season, coming over from the Buffalo Bandits.

The native of Brampton, Ont., got off to a torrid start this year with 14 goals in his first five games and earned NLL player of the week after registering seven points in a win over the Mammoth in January.

"He's the consummate professional and a great guy to have around in that dressing room," Hamley said.

"We're glad to have him on our side, for sure. In our last game he didn't shoot the ball very well and he'd be the first one to tell you that. He had nine shots in our last game and eight in the game before that. But I'm not worried.

"I think this trip to the all-star game will re-energize him and get him prepared for the playoff run."

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


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